Alex Pareene

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Barbara Walters proved to be just as good as the men in the media world, but, sadly, no better. More Joan Lunden than Joan Didion, she didn’t enlighten but entertained, sinking gleefully along with the culture, participating in its descent. The opening of a Walters takedown at Salon, on the day she announced her retirement, by the consistently and delightfully petulant Alex Pareene:

“Barbara Walters has announced her retirement from journalism, a profession she claims to have been practicing for more than 50 years. Walters, the former co-host of the Today show, ABC World News, 20/20, and current co-host of The View, is a national icon and a pioneer, and probably as responsible as any other living person for the ridiculous and sorry state of American television journalism. She has announced her retirement a year in advance, so that a series of aggrandizing specials can be produced celebrating her long and storied career. So let’s get things started off right, by reminding everyone how her entire public life has been an extended exercise in sycophancy and unalloyed power worship.”

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“Baby, baby, baby, you have Bieber Fever”:

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"Anderson’s responses were still a good distillation of TED’s ideology." (Image by Steve Jurvetson.)

I enjoy a lot of TED lectures and have posted some here, but I highly recommend “Don’t Mention Income Inequality Please, We’re Entrepreneurs,” a smart Salon article by Alex Pareene about the wealthy organization’s unspoken politics. The opening:

“There was a bit of a scandal last week when it was reported that a TED Talk on income equality had been censored. That turned out to be not quite the entire story. Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist with a book out on income inequality, was invited to speak at a TED function. He spoke for a few minutes, making the argument that rich people like himself are not in fact job creators and that they should be taxed at a higher rate.

The talk seemed reasonably well-received by the audience, but TED ‘curator’ Chris Anderson told Hanauer that it would not be featured on TED’s site, in part because the audience response was mixed but also because it was too political and this was an ‘election year.’

Hanauer had his PR people go to the press immediately and accused TED of censorship, which is obnoxious — TED didn’t have to host his talk, obviously, and his talk was not hugely revelatory for anyone familiar with recent writings on income inequity from a variety of experts — but Anderson’s responses were still a good distillation of TED’s ideology.”

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